BBC Festival showcases Arab art, culture, and journalism in London

The 4th edition of the BBC Arabic Festival will take place between 20 and 26 April 2018 at the BBC Radio Theatre. (Photo credit: BBC Arabic)
Updated 20 April 2018
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BBC Festival showcases Arab art, culture, and journalism in London

  • Fiction and non-fiction films reflecting current political and social situations in the Arab world will be screened at the festival.
  • The week-long festival will open on Friday, April 20.

LONDON: The fourth edition of the BBC Arabic Festival will take place between 20 and 26 April 2018 at the BBC Radio Theatre in London. Fiction and non-fiction films reflecting current political and social situations in the Arab world will be screened at the festival, and it will also feature talks, panel discussions and special events about journalism, broadcast and filmmaking in the region.
A new day-long Digital Journalism focus will feature at the festival for the first time, and there will also be a celebration of the 10th anniversary of BBC Arabic television.
The week-long festival will open on Friday, April 20, with a screening of award-winning short films exploring the refugee experience which include Mare Nostrum, a portrayal of a father’s decision to put his daughter’s life at risk, Fate, Wherever it Takes Us, a self-reflective, experimental film about a journey from Syrian minefields to asylum in Jordan, and clips from a new film by 2017 Young Journalist Award Winner Mohamed Jabaly (Dir. Ambulance), which follows six asylum seekers living in Tromso, Norway.
The closing awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, April 26 at 7.30pm (BST), and will be hosted by celebrated Korean/Vietnamese comedian Wonho Chung. Musical guest Lekhfa will also be performing live.


Google employees demand more oversight of China search engine plan

A Google sign is seen during the China Digital Entertainment Expo and Conference (ChinaJoy) in Shanghai, China August 3, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 17 August 2018
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Google employees demand more oversight of China search engine plan

  • Hundreds of employees have called on the company to provide more “transparency, oversight and accountability
  • Employees have asked Google to create an ethics review group with rank-and-file workers, appoint ombudspeople to provide independent review and internally publish assessments of projects

SAN FRANCISCO: Google is not close to launching a search engine app in China, its chief executive said at a companywide meeting on Thursday, according to a transcript seen by Reuters, as employees of the Alphabet Inc. unit called for more transparency and oversight of the project.
Chief Executive Sundar Pichai told staff that though development is in an early stage, providing more services in the world’s most populous country fits with Google’s global mission.
Hoping to gain approval from the Chinese government to provide a mobile search service, the company plans to block some websites and search terms, Reuters reported this month, citing unnamed sources.
Whether the company could or would launch search in China “is all very unclear,” Pichai said, according to the transcript. “The team has been in an exploration stage for quite a while now, and I think they are exploring many options.”
Disclosure of the secretive effort has disturbed some Google employees and human rights advocacy organizations. They are concerned that by agreeing to censorship demands, Google would validate China’s prohibitions on free expression and violate the “don’t be evil” clause in the company’s code of conduct.
Hundreds of employees have called on the company to provide more “transparency, oversight and accountability,” according to an internal petition seen by Reuters on Thursday.
After a separate petition this year, Google announced it would not renew a project to help the US military develop artificial intelligence technology for drones.
The China petition says employees are concerned the project, code named Dragonfly, “makes clear” that ethics principles Google issued during the drone debate “are not enough.”
“We urgently need more transparency, a seat at the table and a commitment to clear and open processes: Google employees need to know what we’re building,” states the document seen by Reuters.
The New York Times first reported the petition on Thursday. Google declined to comment.
Company executives have not commented publicly on Dragonfly, and their remarks at the company-wide meeting marked their first about the project since details about it were leaked.
Employees have asked Google to create an ethics review group with rank-and-file workers, appoint ombudspeople to provide independent review and internally publish assessments of projects that raise substantial ethical questions.
Pichai told employees: “We’ll definitely be transparent as we get closer to actually having a plan of record here” on Dragonfly, according to the transcript. He noted the company guards information on some projects where sharing too early can “cause issues.”
Three former employees involved with Google’s past efforts in China told Reuters current leadership may see offering limited search results in China as better than providing no information at all.
The same rationale led Google to enter China in 2006. It left in 2010 over an escalating dispute with regulators that was capped by what security researchers identified as state-sponsored cyberattacks against Google and other large US firms.
The former employees said they doubt the Chinese government will welcome back Google. A Chinese official, who declined to be named, told Reuters this month that it is “very unlikely” Dragonfly would be available this year.